Employee monitoring in the state of California - WorkTime

March 27, 2023

12 min read

Employee monitoring in the state of California, USA

We are WorkTime employee monitoring software for 20+ years serving companies in the USA, California. We are the only non-invasive employee monitoring software focusing on employee productivity monitoring.

Demand in employee monitoring in California

Employee monitoring is in high demand among many industries in California, but it is most commonly used by computerized offices such as IT companies, financial institutions, insurance providers, healthcare organizations, and government agencies. Due to the high cost of living in California, businesses cut costs wherever possible in order to remain operational. Additionally, employers search for ways to maintain employee productivity at a high level. Employee monitoring software is a great help in achieving both goals.

Employee monitoring is in high demand among many industries in California due to the state's high cost of living.

Employee monitoring is the practice of using technology to track employee workflow. This can include many tools, such as internet tracking, app usage, activity tracking, and more.

What businesses use employee monitoring in California?

Support services

When it comes to customer service, California businesses often use outsourcing and work-from-home arrangements to save on office space and labor costs. However, the level of control over employees reduces significantly when dealing with remote teams and work-from-home arrangements. This is the main reason why managers apply employee monitoring for customer service employees.

California businesses often use outsourcing and work-from-home arrangements for customer services. This is the main reason for employee monitoring.

California law primarily pertains to local employees rather than teams located outside the state or the USA. Consequently, employee monitoring of teams located outside the USA is unregulated. However, if monitoring local employees, employers must adhere to the local legislation in California. You can find more information about these laws at the local California legislation.

WorkTime has been serving customer service businesses operating in California for over 25 years.

Software development

There are many software developers in California, such as Electronic Arts, Google, and Adobe. Additionally, there are many lesser-known software developers that need employee monitoring even more. This is due to the fact that such companies have less money, and most of their employees work either remotely or through outsourcing. As we know, controlling remote employees without monitoring is almost impossible. Given the very difficult business situation in California, namely the high wage requirements, as well as the high rental costs of facilities, employee monitoring can greatly reduce these costs. When developing software, especially when there are many employees working on it, monitoring can also help in coordination between employees. Additionally, monitoring can measure employee productivity, making it a valuable tool for software development companies.

Software development companies are one of the main customers of employee monitoring software.

Government agencies

Unlike other industries, security and confidentiality are highly valued in government agencies. Good monitoring can provide both security and confidentiality, making it an essential tool for these agencies. During the pandemic, government employees switched to a remote work model where possible, and this is when employee monitoring was most useful. Moreover, many workplace dynamics remain even after COVID. According to this article: “Unionized public agencies in California must be mindful that the introduction of employee monitoring technology to the workplace would likely trigger an obligation to meet and confer with recognized employee organizations.” The best recommendation for the California agencies is transparency and consent.

WorkTime is also used among federal agencies and government agencies in California.

According to the source, during the onset and development of the pandemic in the United States, many federal agencies began to experience poor attendance after employees switched to telecommuting; many employees deliberately showed up late or did not show up at all, some of whom their superiors found out about through other employees, but many were never caught red-handed. It is at times like this that federal agencies have come to the aid of employee monitoring services, which not only prevent absenteeism at work, but moreover can increase productivity and activity during working hours.

WorkTime offers transparent, non-invasive monitoring as it only monitors employee productivity. WorkTime does not deal with any screen or email/chat content.

Manufacturing companies

Manufacturing companies often prioritize productivity and production efficiency. However, tracking the actions of each employee can be difficult and require a lot of human resource management. Therefore, monitoring is used in manufacturing companies as a means of measuring efficiency and productivity. In California, it is recommended to collect as little information as possible about employees. Manufacturing companies, same as other companies, operating in the state of California are subject to local employee monitoring legislation.

WorkTime complies with the strictest legal requirements in any state of the USA, including California.

One of the former California manufacturing giants, Tesla, has been accused of monitoring its employees in a Facebook group without their consent. While lacking consent is an issue, this practice is otherwise legal in California. In California, obtaining consent from employees is mandatory when monitoring their computer activities. Employers must inform their staff of the monitoring practices and gain their explicit agreement before implementing any surveillance measures. Failing to do so can result in legal consequences and fines.

In California, obtaining consent from employees is mandatory when monitoring their computer activities.

Healthcare organizations

Employee monitoring is typically used in both private and public healthcare facilities, but one may wonder how monitoring can help when working in this area. The answer is very simple: monitoring helps to ensure the security of information for both employees and clients of medical institutions. It tracks the time of visits and absence, and is generally a very useful software. The medical industry in California, as well as in the whole United States, must meet the highest standards and comply with all possible regulations regarding the security of client data, and employee monitoring can help in achieving that.

Healthcare facilities must comply with HIPAA policies.

WorkTime is HIPAA compliant as it does not deal with any PHI. WorkTime serves many healthcare providers all over the USA, including California.

Computerized businesses in California & monitoring

Many computerized businesses in California use various forms of monitoring to track activity and monitor employee performance. Here are a few examples of monitoring used by computerized businesses in California:

Activity & inactivity

A very useful feature for remote or outsourced workers is activity tracking. This function helps employers to understand how actively an employee works during a certain period of time, as well as identify moments when the employee was not active.

This is one of the key tools for monitoring coworkers that all WorkTime clients use.

Internet and email

Employers may monitor employees' email and other communication channels, such as instant messaging or phone calls, to ensure compliance with company policies and prevent the sharing of sensitive information.

Keystroke monitoring

This is a common tool for monitoring and is divided into two types: invasive and non-invasive. Invasive keystroke monitoring, also called a keylogger, can intercept the typing on the employee's keyboard to secure the company's data and monitor keyboard usage. Non-invasive keystroke monitoring does not intercept the text, making it an advantage, and it measures employee activity.

WorkTime uses a keystroke counter, this tool is not harmful to employee security, does not intercept text and does not log keystrokes.

Security control

Employers can use tools to keep company and personal data safe, such as blocking non-secure resources, sites, and apps. Additionally, tools like keyloggers, device screen recordings, and microphone listening can be used, but they are invasive and should only be used if strictly necessary and with the consent of the employees, specifically in California. While monitoring can be a useful tool for computerized businesses to ensure productivity and protect sensitive data, it is important to balance it with employees' privacy rights and maintain a positive workplace ethics.

In California, invasive monitoring is allowed under the state law.

Outsourcing employee monitoring

Due to the high costs associated with operating in California, many industries choose to outsource employees from other countries or states. In the case of an employee from another country, they will likely work remotely, making it essential for companies to monitor the quality of their work. This is not just about quality, but also ensuring that the employee is working during the designated hours. In such situations, companies often turn to employee monitoring vendors for assistance.

WorkTime is a company that specializes in monitoring remote and outsourced employees.

For instance, WorkTime has the capacity to monitor a vast number of outsourced employees. Managing remote employees from different countries or states can be a challenging task. However, WorkTime employee monitoring solution can help employers coordinate their workforce and address the primary concerns when dealing with outsourced employees.

How is it to operate a business in California?

Doing business in California at the moment is not easy due to the high cost of the state, challenging laws for doing business, and the lack of labor regulations, as people are leaving California. Currently, many large companies have left California. According to information from 2020, 265 companies left the state in just four years. Some of the largest companies that have left California include Oracle, Tesla, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, McAfee, and Chevron. Silicon Valley is losing major industry giants every year, but there are still corporations that, despite the difficult situation in the state, are not planning to leave, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Twitter, and others.

The main problems in the state of California are the exorbitant price of real estate, as well as the tax conditions for businesses.

Challenges for businesses in California

On October 8, Elon Musk announced that he was moving Tesla's headquarters from California to Texas. And he is not the first to do so - big business has been leaving the Golden State en masse for at least the last four years.

Big business has been leaving the Golden State en masse for at least the last four years.

According to The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Musk may have moved from California to Texas because of taxes. California has one of the highest personal income taxes in the U.S., while Texas has no income tax.

Texas is the main destination for companies leaving.

Musk's case is not isolated. Many companies in California are suffering due to the very high taxes and enormous real estate costs. Entrepreneurs are also unhappy with local government policies that keep tax rates high and impose more and more bureaucratic regulations. California is the most bureaucratic state in the United States, with almost 400,000 rules that make it difficult to do business.

Many companies in California are suffering due to the very high taxes and enormous real estate costs

In addition, California residents pay a 13% tax on personal income and 13% on capital gains, which, combined with federal taxes, can reach 37%. The state's inflexible policies make it the 48th most taxed state for businesses. Considering the price and tax situation in California, WorkTime is the best choice for non-invasive monitoring that will help California companies save money, as well as increase the efficiency and workplace productivity of employees.

63% of employees declared they would definitely seek a new job if they didn’t have the opportunity to work from home.

Big companies about operating in California

As mentioned above, the situation for businesses in California is difficult, and as a result, many companies have left Silicon Valley, and there has been a wave of business migration throughout the state. The main area of migration is Texas, where 64% of the companies leaving have gone. As many already know, Elon Musk criticized California and moved Tesla to Texas, according to The Wall Street Journal. In preparation for the move, Elon Musk publicly compared California to a sports team that "has been winning for a long time." As a consequence, according to the founder of Tesla Inc., the state becomes too relaxed and spoiled, and wins are taken "for granted."

Elon Musk: the state becomes too relaxed and spoiled, and wins are taken "for granted".

Entrepreneur Alberto Onetti, however, believes that it is premature to talk about the decline of Silicon Valley because it is still ahead of similar tech hubs in many ways. "Statistics say that rumors of Silicon Valley's supposed 'death' are a big exaggeration. It's unlikely that any other hub can reach the same level of company density as San Francisco Bay," he writes in an article for Crunchbase.

Alberto Onetti: Silicon Valley is still ahead of similar tech hubs in many ways.

The IT business, however, is becoming less and less confident that Silicon Valley will retain its leadership position. A recent study by the consulting firm KPMG showed that only a third of top IT executives remain optimistic, while the rest are turning their eyes to alternatives such as New York or Tel Aviv.

Businesses in California & employee monitoring

In California, businesses are trying to cut unnecessary costs as much as possible and increase efficiency, which is due to high taxes and higher salaries for employees. Therefore, many companies use electronic monitoring of employees, which is much more convenient and easier than hiring many managers to monitor employees. However, this is not the main advantage of monitoring in this situation. Employee monitoring can reduce the cost of hiring a supervisory manager in California, and it can also help to increase the efficiency and productivity of production.

WorkTime monitoring is used by many companies in California.

Since the WorkTime monitoring system is very versatile, it is suitable for any industry, and is also in demand in California, and helps save companies' budgets and improve the performance of employees.

The following industries use WorkTime monitoring in California: 1. Healthcare 2. IT 3. Manufacturing 4. Finance 5. Insurance

Typically, in California, employee monitoring is often used to significantly reduce costs and increase company efficiency and productivity.

Startups & banking system in California

Silicon Valley has long been a hub for numerous startups, mainly due to the relative ease of securing investments or seed money for starting a business in the area. This factor has drawn startups to California, even with the state's high taxes and living expenses.

Employee monitoring is highly sought-after by startups as it aids in budget management and enhances staff productivity.

However, the situation is changing, as reported by Forbes, with the banking system frequently used by startups slowly eroding. For instance, on March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, one of the largest banks, ceased operations permanently. While the closing of large banks is not unprecedented in the U.S., in this instance, it caused significant concern among startups, as a significant portion of the bank's $161 billion in deposits belonged to startups. Despite this development, California continues to be a leading hub for startups in the United States, making it essential for the state to maintain a strong banking infrastructure. However, due to the bankruptcy of one of the largest banks in the country, it is challenging to predict the future landscape for startups in California.

Startups choose California due to the availability of startup support and a significant flow of investments into the state.

California's business appeal: why is it enduring?

Despite the factors mentioned earlier that seem to drive businesses away from California, there are still several industry-leading companies that operate there, including Intel, Nvidia, Google, AMD, Apple, and Oracle. The question arises as to how these companies manage to sustain operations in California despite the highest taxes, high wage requirements for employees, and exorbitant real estate prices. 3 reasons why California remains a great place to do business according to Forbes:

1. Benefits to small businesses

According to an article in Forbes, small businesses constitute 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employ half of California's workforce. California has a robust ecosystem for startups, in addition to the state's general inclination to support small business development throughout the U.S. A well-established investment infrastructure can be highly beneficial for small businesses, making the state an attractive destination for startups.

In California, there are special advantages for startups, as well as a favorable investment infrastructure.

2. Strong economy

California has the fifth-largest economy in the world, which makes it an attractive destination for both startups and large companies. In addition to its robust economy, the state benefits from a significant influx of investment that helps companies grow at a faster pace.

3. Workforce

California is the most populous state in the country with over 39 million residents, making it easier to find a suitable workforce. Additionally, the state boasts numerous schools and universities ranked among the best in the country, ensuring that finding talented workers is not a significant challenge.

Startups & employee monitoring in California

As stated earlier, California boasts a vast number of startups and small businesses. One major challenge faced by startups is the absence of reliable income, leading to dependence on external funding. Fortunately, California enjoys a significant influx of investment, allowing startups to thrive despite the state's overall situation and the departure of some companies. WorkTime has been providing employee monitoring to startups and small businesses in California for years, and based on our experience we can highlight the main benefits of WorkTime monitoring for startups and small businesses in California:

Saving companies money

Employee monitoring significantly assists startups in saving on their company budget. Since startups often have limited budgets, they commonly hire outsourced employees or those from other states. As it is well-known, monitoring such employees can be a genuine challenge, making employee monitoring a valuable tool. With employee monitoring, startups can confidently hire outsourced or remote-based employees.

Employee monitoring helps startups save money on employee salaries and also save money on office rent.

Monitoring productivity/efficiency

From the information presented above, it is evident that startups and small businesses frequently engage employees to work remotely. WorkTime's employee monitoring solution is designed to track employee efficiency and productivity, mitigating the risk of remote employees neglecting their work responsibilities or working at their own convenience.

This feature is not only crucial for small companies but also for larger ones, serving as the foundation for the overall productivity of the company.

In office, remote, hybrid settings in California & monitoring

The state of California has undergone significant changes due to the coronavirus pandemic. For example, remote or hybrid work models, previously not the most popular, are now almost on par with the office work mode. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Office work

Office work remains the most mainstream work model. This makes sense because it's easier to observe employees' workflow. Moreover, unlike working from home, employees in the office tend to spend more time working. Many companies still use employee surveillance in the office, but employers are required to comply with all regulations and laws when using employee monitoring.

In the California work environment, companies try to maximize the potential of employees, so they often use monitoring as a means of controlling the quality of work and productivity in the office.

Remote work

There are no specific laws governing remote work in California, but employers must comply with state labor laws nonetheless. After the pandemic, remote work has gained tremendous momentum. However, the growth of remote work was not only due to the pandemic, but also influenced by the situation in the state, specifically expensive real estate. To save businesses from having to move their employees to remote work, companies have adopted remote work as an alternative.

In a remote workplace, monitoring plays a key role, as it is impossible to conduct quality employee tracking without it.

Hybrid work

This is a compromise between office and remote work. Companies uncomfortable with the remote work model can move employees to a hybrid workplace. This is generally a good option for companies worried that remote work will make their employees less efficient and perform worse. The hybrid model ensures that the employee will be in the office several days a week.

WorkTime employee monitoring works perfectly with all workplaces (remote, hybrid, office).

Impact of employee monitoring on remote work

Employee monitoring has shown to be very effective in managing remote employees. However, it is important to strike a balance between effective monitoring and ethical rules, requiring employers to choose the right vendor for employee monitoring. WorkTime is a noninvasive monitoring provider with 25 years of experience that also serves remote workers in California. According to our data, employees' mental health improves significantly when they switch from invasive to noninvasive monitoring.

Employee monitoring has shown to be very effective in managing remote employees.

"78% of employers use software to spy on employees. However, research and common sense show that this tempting practice does far more harm than good. Additionally, 83% of employers admit that it's ethically questionable," Entrepreneur reports in its study. This is a very real problem that concerns nearly every remote employee. In the employee monitoring market, almost all vendors provide invasive tools capable of detailed tracking, allowing employers to keep tabs on their employees. Much of this is ethically wrong, and in many countries, even illegal, but that doesn't deter employers from using such tools.

WorkTime is the only non-invasive employee monitoring vendor on the market. Our solution does not utilize tools that enable detailed employee tracking.

Given the growth of remote employees, we can roughly assume an increasing dissatisfaction among those monitored by invasive employee monitoring. This can cause many people to hesitate to accept a job where such a tracking tool is used, or it may even prompt an employee to quit.

Outsourcing business in California & monitoring

Outsourcing in California is also very popular precisely because of the economic situation in the state. Companies can outsource some tasks to other companies or even countries, this can save a lot of money on employee salaries. The industries that most often use outsourcing are: 1. IT: Companies outsource their needs, this can be software development, network administration, or cybersecurity services. 2. Manufacturing: Outsourcing to manufacturing companies is used to produce components or finished products at a lower cost. 3. Health care: Some health care facilities outsource administrative tasks, accounting reports, billing, or non-medical services such as housekeeping or maintenance. 4. HR: Outsourcing HR functions, such as recruiting, employee management and staff training, can save a company money and time. Employee monitoring can also be outsourced, for example, a company can outsource the management and control of personnel to another company.

Why do companies in California use outsourcing?

Outsourcing tasks to other companies in different states or countries can save businesses a lot of money, especially in California's challenging business environment. This approach can also save time and money if a company is short-staffed or lacks in-house specialists. Instead of hiring and training new employees, outsourcing the task to another company can be a more efficient solution. Monitoring employees is also crucial in outsourcing. When a task is assigned to someone outside the company, it's challenging to control their workflow. Electronic monitoring can come in handy in such situations, as it enables the tracking of a freelancer's or temporary employee's task performance.

The main reason why California companies use outsourcing is that it is expensive to staff. Companies that want to save money on hiring new employees use outsourcing.

The law & employee monitoring in California

California's employee monitoring laws are similar to those of other states, such as New York. The federal Electronic Communications Act (ECPA) in the United States prohibits employers from intentionally intercepting and monitoring employees' personal communications. However, some companies have found loopholes in the law, such as the Business Purpose Exception, which permits employers to intercept employees' work communications if it's justified for a legitimate business purpose. Additionally, if an employee consents to being monitored, the employer has the right to track the employee's workspace or even some personal information. Fortunately, California provides employees with additional protections beyond federal law. Under the California Constitution, employees can sue their employers for privacy violations if there is evidence that the action violates their reasonable expectation of privacy. In 2018, California passed the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), considered the toughest data privacy law in the United States. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gave California consumers more control over how their personal information is used.

California law provides employers with a fairly wide range of options for monitoring employees, while protecting employees from excessive invasion of their personal space.

As many as 78% of employees working from home declare home technical problems negatively affect their collaboration with colleagues.

Privacy expectations in California

California takes privacy very seriously, and people have high employee expectations of privacy. Laws protect employee privacy rights as well.

Employers in California must disclose to their employees when and why their personal information is checked and tracked.

Moreover, California labor laws prohibit unauthorized recording of phone conversations, listening to an employee's microphone, or other invasive monitoring tools. However, there are exceptions to this rule for some businesses, such as those where data secrecy is essential. This may include government agencies or the medical industry.

WFH can lead to lower employee productivity due to less face-to-face interaction and a lack of shared workspace.

When is monitoring too invasive for California?

As many people already know, employee monitoring is divided into two types: invasive and non-invasive. Non-invasive monitoring is not prohibited by California law and does not cause any moral or physical harm to employees.

Invasive monitoring usually uses many unnecessary and intimidating functions for employees. WorkTime in turn offers monitoring in which all features are important and will be used.

However, invasive monitoring is a different matter. Many monitoring systems on the market may be considered too invasive in some way for California. The monitoring features that are considered too invasive in California include: 1. Recording from a device's webcam 2. Capturing text from an employee's personal device 3. Eavesdropping from an employee's microphone 4. Telephone call interception 5. Tracking an employee's location 6. Screen recordings on an employee's personal device All of the above features may be considered an invasion of an employee's privacy by law, and the employee has the right to file a lawsuit against the employer for this.

Invasive monitoring in California is strictly controlled by law, so every invasive tool must have official permission from an authorized employee.

Less than 30% of employees have home offices while others have to work in bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms or even basements.

WorkTime for non-invasive employee monitoring in California

WorkTime has more than 20 years of experience as the only representative of non-invasive monitoring on the market. The WorkTime monitoring system uses advanced solutions to conduct high-quality employee monitoring without using invasive tools that could cause employee dissatisfaction or legal problems.

Non-invasive tracking with WorkTime creates a healthier and better employee experience, making workers feel more enthusiastic about their job.

WorkTime provides monitoring features that are similar to invasive tools and help clients in California monitor employee workflows effectively without compromising their privacy. Some of the WorkTime tools include: 1. Keystroke Counter: This tool shows the number and intensity of keystrokes in applications, similar to an invasive keylogger, but without capturing typed text. 2. Active Time: This tool displays employee activity during work hours, which is especially helpful for remote workers. 3. Performance Monitoring: An effective tool for determining an employee's performance. 4. Application Activity: This tool shows how active the employee was in specific applications. 5. WorkTime Reports: With WorkTime Reports, you can see the results of the entire staff or multiple offices, as well as for each employee. You can also compare multiple employees on workflow and identify each employee's weaknesses. WorkTime has many California clients in many industries such as healthcare, IT, Manufacturing, Finance, Insurance and others.

Make sure all equipment and technology necessary to carry out job tasks are in place.

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